Antakya is the main town in Hatay, Turkey that reaches out to the rural villages along the Syrian border. It has always been a city of mixed culture: Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Arabs, and Turks. Since the start of the Syrian civil war, hundreds of thousands of Syrians, both Muslim, and Christian, have crossed over into Hatay.

Two hundred and eighty kilometers (175 miles) east of Antakya is the city of Homs, Syria. Once home to tens of thousands Christians, the city’s Christian population has now shrunk to less than 100 due to the war and radical Islamic organizations who target Christians. The most notable of these religious killings is the recent assassination of the 75 year old Jesuit Dutch priest, Frans van der Lugt, was widely known for staying in the besieged city of Homs, while constantly calling for humanitarian aid and working for peace before he was dragged from his home and shot twice in the head by an unknown gunman.

Easter on the Syrian Border